Connect with us

Feature

MAY 16: HISTORIC MMA DAY FOR GUAM

May 16, 2015 will go down as the best MMA Day for Guam.

By Patrick Lujan

MANILA – The taxi ride in the wee hours after UFC Manila summed up mixed martial arts’ explosion in Asia.

“Boxing is dead,” said cab driver Junetoy. Of course, knowing that I was at the fights at the Mall of Asia Arena, he quickly made reference to Manny Pacquiao’s loss to Floyd Mayweather two weeks back.

As a boxing-crazed country for decades, the Philippines showed why MMA may very well be taking over boxing with a sold-out crowd at UFC Fight Night 66 – the first UFC event in the Philippines ever.

May 16, 2015 will also go down in the Guam sports history books as the best MMA day ever for our island. A much-appreciated turn of events for our island recovering from Typhoon Dolphin just the day before.BJT

It all started stateside where Baby Joe Taimanglo did his part in dismantling Mexican Antonio Duarte with a one-shot right hand that floored his opponent in Bellator 137 in Temecula, California.

It was almost lunch time here in Manila and the buzz on social media about Baby Joe’s win surely got the fans pumping heading into the night’s events.

It was Jon Delos Reyes’ turn, needing a UFC win badly after dropping his first two attempts last year. And what a battle it was. With the Guam flags waving throughout the Arena, JDR proved his worth with a second round rear-naked choke on Roldan Sangcha-an, one the Philippines’ best. This despite getting cut badly over his right eye earlier in the round and blood was flowing profusely. Everyone around the press were talking ‘Fight of the Night’ – and it stood up as both fighters took home $50,000 bonuses. The bonus is a pretty penny for JDR, but imagine what it does to a fighter from the Philippines. He could be set for life with this one fight.

I’m sure Tuck felt the pressure at the back, knowing that Guam was 2-0 at that point. He received the second most crowd ovation in the night only behind the Filipino fighters. Being the golden boy of Guam MMA, he certainly had the huge backing from the Guam fans who flew out but he’s also developed a P.I. following since his PXC days.

I remember my conversation with Tuck when he came home after his loss to Kevin Lee last year, which I thought was his best performance I’ve seen of him despite the loss.

We both agreed that he needed to “meet him in the middle”, meaning beat his opponent to the middle and be the aggressor instead of retreating back.

Always a slow starter, Tuck did his usual feeling-out process and started meeting Tae Hyun Bang in the middle. And in a matter of seconds, Tuck turned on his “Super Saiyan Level II” and displayed his striking prowess and jiu-jitsu expertise to win ‘Performance of the Night’ and a $50,000 bonus as well.

All the hard work and sacrifice from these three elite athletes have been paying off.

The Big John Calvos and Manny Chongs and yes, Wenyu ‘One Time’ Bambas, are the pioneers of the sport, but these three took it to the next level(s) and are reaping the fruits of their labor today.

Yes, they had to leave the island to hone their skills. It’s a numbers game. There’s only so many other people to train and sacrifice with on Guam. Who likes to get punched in the face anyway?

Only time will tell if we will have a Bellator or UFC champion. We all cheer and hope so.

One thing’s for sure. For one day, Guam stood proud for our island warriors.

Team Guam captures a moment with newly-retired UFC fighter Mark Munoz after the fights. (photo courtesy of Jason Joson)

Team Guam captures a moment with newly-retired UFC fighter Mark Munoz after the fights. (photo courtesy of Jason Joson)

Note: The arena experience during Mark Munoz’s final fight in the UFC was magical. You just had to be there to experience it. Obviously a country favorite getting his dream to fight in front of his own people, Munoz turned back the clock and had the fairy tale ending against the much taller Luke Barnatt. The crowd exploded on every big right hand he struck and chanted ‘Munoz, Munoz’ on several occasions. He displayed his striking and wrestling once more and left his UFC gloves in the middle of the Octagon after victory. In the press row, we are prohibited to applaud, take pictures or videos, but I couldn’t help but stand and applaud for him as he walked right in front after he left the cage.

 

Ad

Athletes Birthdays by W5

GPS Sports Calendar

August

September 2021

October
SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
Events for September

1st

No Events
Events for September

2nd

Events for September

3rd

Events for September

4th

5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Events for September

5th

Events for September

6th

No Events
Events for September

7th

No Events
Events for September

8th

No Events
Events for September

9th

No Events
Events for September

10th

No Events
Events for September

11th

12
13
14
15
16
17
18
Events for September

12th

No Events
Events for September

13th

No Events
Events for September

14th

No Events
Events for September

15th

No Events
Events for September

16th

No Events
Events for September

17th

No Events
Events for September

18th

No Events
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
Events for September

19th

No Events
Events for September

20th

No Events
Events for September

21st

No Events
Events for September

22nd

No Events
Events for September

23rd

No Events
Events for September

24th

No Events
Events for September

25th

No Events
26
27
28
29
30
1
2
Events for September

26th

No Events
Events for September

27th

No Events
Events for September

28th

No Events
Events for September

29th

No Events
Events for September

30th

No Events

National Guard Athletes

Rose Munoz

An educator, triathlete, mother and Guardsman all in one! The ever active Rose Munoz almost never stops moving, but she’s found a way to balance her busy life while serving from home!

 

Polls

Do you agree with the Executive Order which has halted sporting practices as well as forced postponement of IIAAG and ISA Leagues?

View Results

COMING SOON …

IIAAG & ISA Leagues Postponed (schedules on events calendar)

Guam’s Strongest Man & Woman Competition

QUICK HITS

Captain Morgan: In his fifth pro season in the Japan Professional Basketball League, Morgan Aiken has been named the captain of the Yamaguchi Patriots.
“I’m blessed to officially be voted & named team captain for this season, year 5. Been such a long road, but trust me when I tell you hard work pays off.”
—————————————-
Josh Calvo captures black belt middleweight gold in The Revolution Tournament in Washington. It’s the biggest jiu-jitsu tournament in the Pacific Northwest region.

 

 

 

More in Feature